Bendigo was one of the world’s richest gold rush cities offering stunning European heritage architecture and beautiful parks and gardens. Today, it is renowned for its arts and cultural scene and is Australia’s first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy.
Fall in love with Bendigo with this four-day, three-night getaway, curated especially for couples. Wander through the heritage streetscapes, be inspired by Bendigo's creativity and see for yourself why Bendigo is Australia's first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy. Come and hear our stories and connect with our people. Check out this video and start planning your visit with our itinerary now. Keep scrolling to find out more about Bendigo.
Fall in love with Bendigo
Bendigo, a two-hour drive from Melbourne, is a city with a rich history and a thriving arts and culture scene. It is a vibrant must-see destination - you can’t help falling in love with this city.
Once one of the richest goldfields in the world, Bendigo is full of history and rich stories to be told. As I step foot inside the Central Deborah Gold Mine, where a tour guide leads me 61 metres underground to experience the conditions that miners worked in in the 1800s, I am grateful that I was born at a different time.
I continued my journey to the past on the Vintage Talking Tram. The tram told many unique stories along the heritage-filled city. While I take in the beautiful streetscapes, I can just hear the whisper from each building, telling stories of the ‘good old days’ and reminds us of its rich past.
But it is not all in the past. Bendigo’s love of all things heritage means many of the buildings have been preserved and repurposed as world-class restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels, theatres and more. Talk to the locals - they’re a passionate, friendly bunch, happy to share the history of the buildings and quick to share some hidden gems.
Bendigo breathes arts and culture and I felt it in the air. Not only is it home to one to the largest galleries in regional Australia, Bendigo Art Gallery, but there are also public artworks and galleries scattered throughout the city, museums and temples sharing different tales and makers that showcase their creativities in every way you can imagine.
Bendigo Art Gallery is home to an impressive collection of Australian and international art, including works by well-known artists such as Sidney Nolan, Arthur Boyd, and Brett Whiteley. But this beloved gallery is most famous for their exhibitions. Who can forget the iconic Elvis: Direct from Graceland, Marimekko: Design Icon 1951 to 2018 and Tudors to Windsors: British Royal Portraits, just to name a few?
After a visit to the gallery, take your time exploring View Street, and the CBD. Follow the street art guide and see works from well-known national and international artists decorating this historic city with an impressive range of instagrammable large-scale artworks.
Drop into the Golden Dragon Museum and see Australia’s oldest processional dragon, Loong, and its two successors, Sun Loong and Dai Gum Loong, which happens to be the longest imperial dragon in the world. In the mid-1800s, 20 percent of Bendigo’s population hailed from China. They came as miners and merchants, bringing their customs, culture and beliefs to the goldfields. As a Chinese migrant myself, I am in awe of the many precious items preserved and kept by this one of a kind museum.
Bendigo’s designation as Australia’s first UNESCO Creative City of Gastronomy is something that sparks my curiosity. I didn’t have to look far to understand though, walking with my coffee, roasted locally in Bendigo, the locals share with me their favourite food and makers spots. With handcrafted chocolate infused with local ingredients, soft and fluffy sourdough bread, straight out of the oven, and buttery croissants hand-made each day, these are just some of the places I discovered in one morning.
Staying on track with my gastronomy discovery, I visited Balgownie Estate, Bendigo’s oldest vines. It was special not only because the wine was rich and delicious but having the opportunity to hear from the winemaker as they share their experiences. It is one of the reasons why Bendigo is so extraordinary, people who create amazing things are more than happy to share their craft, stories, and their love for their work.
It's not often you get to stop and take in your surroundings, but Bendigo makes it easy. Right in the centre of Bendigo, Rosalind Park is a place full of lush leafy trees, an historic conservatory, a fernery, and beautiful old gardens. Grab a picnic rug, lay back and watch the world go by. Catch the tram and spend an afternoon at Lake Weeroona soaking up the sun and do some duck watching. Go for a drive out to the Great Stupa and meditate in the wonderful peace park, you can easily spend hours there in the middle of the Australian bushland.
As I leave this beautiful city full of history and stories, I know I will be back. Because I have fallen in love with its beauty, its passion, and its possibilities.
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